Although London’s West End has some amazing musicals, both old and new, there has been a feeling of them taking over by using some of the theatre’s usually more suited to straight plays or comedies. Now it’s time for the plays to fight back as the new season in town brings a wealth of new plays, comedies and revivals and some wonderful actors including Judi Dench, Jude Law, Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, Lynda Bellingham, Patricia Hodge, Sian Phillips, Ethan Hawke, Simon Russell Beale, Helen Mirren, Margaret Tyzack, Dominic Cooper, Simon Callow, Prunella Scales, to name but a few.
War Horse has now transferred from the National’s Olivier Theatre to The New London Theatre where it will play a regular schedule of 8 shows a week and is currently booking until 28th September 2009. This incredible play sold out every performance at the National and bookings are very heavy for the New London, a theatre that usually plays host to musicals, but is very similar in design to the Olivier with a wide stage.
Madame de Sade is the latest in the Donmar’s West End season at Wyndham’s Theatre and stars the legendary Judi Dench. Madame de Sade finishes it’s run on Saturday 23rd May.
Calendar Girls starts previews at the Noel Coward Theatre on the 4th April and is destined to be a big hit. It has already become the fastest-selling tour in history outside the West End with a glowing set of reviews. This is a stage adaptation of the hit film and stars Lynda Bellingham, Patricia Hodge, Sian Phillips, Gaynor Faye, Brigit Forsyth, Julia Hills and Elaine C. Smith. This is the moving story of members of the Women’s Institute who shun their usual cake baking competitions and jam making in order to produce a nude calendar to raise money for Leukaemia research. The calendar causes quite a stir and the women find the sudden media interest more challenging than they could have predicted.
If you want to see the amazing original cast, you had better book your tickets now as the play will be recast after the 24th June. The Noel Coward has just been vacated by the cast of the musical “Avenue Q” which is taking a short break before re-opening at The Gielgud Theatre on the 1st June 2009.
The Last Cigarette by Simon Gray and Hugh Whitemore will transfer from The Chichester Festival Theatre to The Trafalgar Studios on the 21st April until 1st August. Starring Felicity Kendal, Nicholas Le Prevost and Jasper Britton, the play is an adaptation of Simon Gray’s memoirs, which draws on his relationship with smoking while battling cancer.
Duet For One is transferring from it’s sell out season at The Almeida Theatre to the Vaudeville Theatre on the 7th May and stars Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman. This is a powerful and deeply moving play about a brilliant concert violinist who seemingly has it all, but is forced to re-evaluate her life when struck down by an unforeseen tragedy. Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett, opens at The Haymarket Theatre on the 30th April and is currently booking until the 12th July, and stars Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, Simon Callow and Ronald Pickup.
Taking Sides and Collaboration are two plays by Ronald Harwood, playing in rep from 20 May – 22 Aug. Although standalone stories, but subtly linked, both plays explore the fine line between collaboration and betrayal during the Second World War. Both plays star Michael Pennington. Duchess Theatre.
The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekov, – in a new version by Tom Stoppard, opens at The Old Vic Theatre on the 23rd May and plays in repertoire with Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale (from the 29th May) under the banner of The Bridge Project, which is a co-production of The Old Vic, The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and Neal Street productions. Both plays star Ethan Hawke, Sinead Cusack and Simon Russell Beale. The season closes on the 15th August 2009. PLEASE NOTE: The seating configuration has reverted back to it’s standard layout using the proscenium arch.
Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. A complex drama of intellect & sexual intrigue set simultaneously in 1809 & the present day. 27 May – 12 Sept. Stars Samantha Bond. Duke of Yorks Theatre. Hamlet by William Shakespeare is the last in the Donmar West End season at Wyndham’s Theatre and stars Jude Law and Penelope Wilton. 29th May – 22nd August.
Phedre starring Helen Mirren, Margaret Tyzack and Dominic Cooper opens in repertoire at The National’s Lyttleton Theatre on the 4th June.
Carries War, based on Nina Bawden’s famous 1973 novel set during World War Two, stars Prunella Scales and opens at The Apollo Theatre on the 18th June.